LONDON: Analysts, journalists and more criticized “inaccurate” and “misleading” headlines and tweets published by Western media outlets such as the New York Times, BBC and AFP regarding slain Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and the clashes that ensued at her funeral procession.
Shocking scenes of violence broke out at Abu Akleh’s funeral as Israeli police officers charged at mourners carrying the journalist’s coffin through Jerusalem’s Old City. Police forces charged at the crowd carrying the coffin, kicking and beating pallbearers with batons.
Tear-gas shells and rubber bullets were hurled at chanting mourners in an attempt to stop them from raising Palestinian flags in the old city.
“Shireen Abu Akleh funeral sees clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian mourners in Jerusalem,” read a New York Times headline on Friday, which was criticized for “shamelessly equating the victims with the aggressors,” journalist and commentator Eyad Abu Chakra tweeted.
Shamelessly equating the victims with the aggressors!!!! https://t.co/LVXihRA3n1
— إياد أبو شقرا (@eyad1949) May 14, 2022
And the New York Times was not the only publication that was criticized, with the BBC tweeting that “violence broke out” at the slain Al-Jazeera journalist’s funeral as her coffin was “jostled as Israeli police and Palestinians clashed as it left hospital.
“Israeli occupation forces attacked the funeral procession, beat mourners, caused her casket to fall to the ground and the BBC tweets one of the worst obfuscations of Israeli violence yet,” AJ+’s Sana Saeed tweeted.
“Violence breaks out”
“Israeli police & Palestinians clashed”
Her coffin was “jostled”
Israeli occupation forces attacked the funeral procession, beat mourners, caused her casket to fall to the ground and the BBC tweets one of the worst obfuscations of Israeli violence yet. pic.twitter.com/tW61Bj9oNE
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) May 13, 2022
Bassam Khawaja, co-director of the Human Rights and Privatization Project at NYU’s School of Law, called the tweet “essentially misinformation from the BBC.
“I don’t know how you get from what has been widely acknowledged as a one-sided attack on a funeral procession to ‘violence breaks out.’”
This is essentially misinformation from the BBC.
I don't know how you get from what has been widely acknowledged as a one-sided attack on a funeral procession to "violence breaks out." https://t.co/kwhLKTmXQ3
— Bassam Khawaja (@Bassam_Khawaja) May 13, 2022
Another tweeter, Kira Davidson, wrote: “Western media has really been telling on itself throughout its coverage of Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder and funeral. To call this anything but violent suppression in support of apartheid is a grave injustice to her memory and her work as a journalist, and a failure in reporting.”
Western media has really been telling on itself throughout its coverage of Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder and funeral. To call this anything but violent suppression in support of Apartheid is a grave injustice to her memory and her work as a journalist, and a failure in reporting. https://t.co/8P9LOkK4u7
— Kira Davidson (@kiradvds) May 14, 2022
Even Western news media’s reporting on Abu Akleh’s cold-blooded killing was highly inaccurate.
“Shireen Abu Akleh, Trailblazing Palestinian Journalist, Dies at 51,” read the New York Times article on her death. Abu Akleh was shot in the head while covering an Israeli raid in Jenin; she was wearing a press jacket.
— Bassam Khawaja (@Bassam_Khawaja) May 11, 2022
“This reads like an obituary headline for someone who died in their bed. There is no world in which it’s acceptable, and it happens over and over again,” Khawaja wrote in another tweet.
“I understand we don’t yet have all the facts. And keep in mind that editors, not reporters, write headlines. But this wording was a deliberate choice, and it blatantly misrepresents what happened today.”
Jewish Voice for Peace, a human rights organization, posted on its Instagram account a more precise rephrasing of the headline — “Shireen Abu Akleh, Trailblazing Palestinian Journalist, Assassinated by Israeli Sniper While Wearing a Press Vest and Reporting on Israeli Military Violence.”